This one was a lot of fun to pick up and watch from the 2nd inning on, after returning home from dinner on a cool fall night. Reds are playing at home, and when we get the television on they’re up 4-0. Homer Bailey is there front and center blowing hitters away on the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals team.
Take a look at the numbers of our new ace. Over Homer Bailey’s last 8 starts: he’s averaged 6.54 innings pitched, he’s 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA, 46 K’s/21 BB. He’s only given up 2 home runs which were allowed over 30 innings ago.
A tell-tale sign of his maturity and confidence growing in front of our very eyes was hearing him talk about the at-bat of the game when Albert Pujols came up to the plate with the bases loaded (I didn’t realize that Pujols has 5 grand slams this season alone). Reds were up 4-0, and you just had that feeling that Bailey would be burnt yet one more time by the game’s best hitter. And when he got Pujols to fly out to the warning track in deep center, allowing his only run of the night; you just got a good feeling in you. They talked to Bailey after the game and he talked about just taking a walk around the mound, refocusing on the glove and ‘throwing it as hard as you can’. Good to hear that kind of talk out of a guy we always have believed had it in him.
Oh yes, and then there’s Mr. Bruce. Special night for Jay Bruce as he set a career high for RBI’s in a game, as well as home runs in a single season by hitting his 21st and 22nd blasts of the year. Bruce wants to talk about adjustments, but here’s what we saw. We didn’t get to see the first home run but on the second; he didn’t get everything into that ball but it was still gone to the tune of 418 feet in right center field. It wasn’t all that great of a swing. When a ball leaves the yard like that on an awkward swing, you’ve either got natural ability out the ass or you’re doing something right at the plate within the awkward swing. In this case it’s a bit of both.
Just a special night to witness as the Reds have now won 24 of their last 35 ballgames. Oh yeah, and Joey Votto homered as well, his 24th of the season. Scott Rolen drove in Brandon Phillips with an RBI single for the other run in the 7-2 drubbing.
If the Reds can stay healthy, they might be dangerous in 2010. They entered the month of June six games over .500; and then the injuries began to hit. The trouble continued all the way until the third week of August, and since that point they’re 13 games over .500 baseball.